outrage

Image via Starbucks / RNS

When it comes to outrage, the Internet abhors a vacuum.

The latest missives in the continuing culture wars have come from different sides of Christianity over, of all things, the new design of the Starbucks red cup. This year’s rollout saw a plain red cup, rather than the decorated cups of Christmas past, and one guy got mad.

Joshua Feuerstein is an “American evangelist, Internet and social media personality.” He used to be a pastor, but has had some success now as a maker of YouTube videos, which put his raspy voice and confrontational manner to good use.

A few days ago, Feuerstein went to a local Starbucks wearing his Jesus shirt and carrying a gun (because Starbucks hates the Second Amendment, he claimed). He told some unwitting barista that his name was “Merry Christmas,” so that they would have to write that Christian message on his cup, and then uploaded a video to Facebook encouraging his followers to do the same: “I think in the age of political correctness we’ve become so open-minded our brains have literally fallen out of our head,” he said. 

Greg Carey 12-29-2014
Chalk illustration of a megaphone. Image courtesy Palau/shutterstock.com

Chalk illustration of a megaphone. Image courtesy Palau/shutterstock.com

Optimism tends to accompany a new year. But we leave 2014 somewhat broken and disappointed. The online magazine Slate has christened 2014 “The Year of Outrage.” I bet the name sticks. Slate’s snappy multi-media calendar links the most outrageous news story for every day of the past year. What was so outrageous, and who found themselves offended?

January 29: “XOJane publishes an essay about a white person seeing a black person in yoga and feeling uncomfortable about it.” (Race provided a major source of outrage in 2014.)

According to Slate: ”Who was outraged: black women, nonracist yoga practitioners.”

November 6: “A mom finds mold in a Capri Sun juice pack.”

“Who was outraged: people who don’t think mold should be in juice.”

Slate pumped up the project with eleven essays on outrage. Topics ranged from “The Life Cycle of Outrage” to the twins “The Year in Liberal Outrage” and “The Year in Conservative Outrage.” I don’t know about you, but I think Slate basically named our collective mood as we enter 2015.

Outrage may emerge from petty things: “An Irish cafe bans loud Americans” (July 22). It seems to me, though, that we live in a society intensely marked by outrage. What is one to say in the face of ISIS and its blood lust? Outrage divides us. Do we find ourselves more inclined to outrage that in Ferguson, Missouri an unarmed black youth died from at least six gun — or do we find it more offensive that crowds would protest the death of a young man who may have attacked a police officer?

I know one thing: my social media feeds provide no help. They stream with the outrage of people I love, people I know, and newsmakers I follow.

Here’s the deal: our outrage grows from our most vulnerable places, our basic fear that things are not as they should be. Something is wrong with our world, and in a fundamental way we don’t know how to fix it. Faced with moral and social disorder, the deep evolutionary structure of our brains prepares us to fight: outrage! We may think we’re angry because we’re right — and someone else is so, so wrong. We’re really angry because we’re disappointed.

The opening verses of John’s Gospel confront us with a combination of things that ordinarily don’t belong together. Readers universally appreciate how this prologue applies to Jesus some of the Bible’s most high-flying, most spiritual language (1:1-18). But hints of discord also haunt this most exalted passage.

 
Rachel Marie Stone 09-04-2013
Women outraged looking at a computer screen, VanHart / Shutterstock.com

Women outraged looking at a computer screen, VanHart / Shutterstock.com

“All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits,” wrote the psychologist William James.

I think that may be as true online as it is in real life. We tend to do things in a fairly regular pattern; log onto email first, check the news, browse social media, read blogs, get outraged.

Yes: outraged.

Some days I am amazed at how much potent vitriol gets spewed all over the Internet. (Other days I’m just used to it.)

One of the strangest of online habits may be when people repeatedly get upset with the same bloggers and websites, and exclaim their feelings in the comments section and on social media. It’s as if they are going into McDonald’s every day and complaining about all the fast food that’s in there.

The upside of websites you find horrible is that you don’t have to read them.

the Web Editors 10-04-2011

What's more obscene? Thirty-thousand children dead in Somalia in three months? Or the world standing by and letting it happen?

Duane Shank 09-22-2011
Every time I think I've exhausted my outrage capacity, I see something new to refuel it.
Christine Sine 02-09-2011

Yesterday I received my email copy of ePistle, Evangelicals for Social Action’s weekly electronic communication. This article discussing the situation in the Ivory Coast and the former president Laurent Gbagbo immediately caught my attention:

“The Ivory Coast is on the brink of civil war, and chocolate companies could play a critical role in saving lives and bringing peace.

Jake Olzen 06-16-2010
For nearly two months oil has gushed into the Gulf because of BP's government-endorsed "error." The environmental destruction has reached epic prop
Marque Jensen 06-03-2010

If migration policy was "freed" or emancipated, people could respond to real work opportunities, economies would be able to grow globally, the federal and state focus could be put on fighting crime and http://www.latina.com/lifestyle/news-politics/immigration-

Kim Bobo 05-19-2010
Yesterday, I read through psalm after psalm searching for the "right" one to read at the opening of the http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jT_TJF6XHvkIcroUc3uaHO...
Eboo Patel 05-11-2010
A few days back, small groups of college students at Northwestern,http://uiucatheists.bl
Julie Clawson 05-10-2010
So the latest Nick & Josh Podcast is up and it's a r
Watching a disaster unfold on the news is always heartbreaking, but when it occurs in your hometown and you are far away, it can be debilitating.

Ernesto Tinajero 05-05-2010

Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns are a fun team to root for. They score a lot of points in an open style of basketball. Assists, points, and cheers abound in most of their games. Now it is even better. They are wearing their "Los Suns" jerseys tonight in game two of their series with the San Antonio Spurs to show support for the Latino community in Arizona.

Ernesto Tinajero 04-30-2010
The defenses that Goldman Sachs execs gave to this week's Senate hearings for their actions were full of emotion and denial. They claimed shock that anyone could question their actions.
Elizabeth Palmberg 04-27-2010

Last month, the Guinness World Records folks certified American Bryan Berg as building the world's largest house of cards, a replica of a hotel and casino in Macau.

Ryan Beiler 04-14-2010

Last weekend I was at a family reunion where I had been invited to show pictures from my sabbatical in the Middle East last spring.

Rabbi Arthur Waskow 04-12-2010

There is a biblical story in which Samson used the jawbone of an ass to defeat his enemies. Today some politicians seem to think "jawboning" -- talk and more talk, whether sweet or angry -- can actually win peace in the Middle East. But it will take much stronger action.

Rose Marie Berger 04-07-2010
There was a lovely reflection in today's NYT by novelist Denise Giardina about the Upper Big Branch mine explosion in West Virginia.
Jim Wallis 02-26-2010

Did you watch any of the health-care summit yesterday in Washington? Guess what? The Republicans and Democrats are divided and likely can't find any common ground.

Nontando Hadebe 02-12-2010
This past week has been characterized by drama and confusion in South Africa and Zimbabwe. In South Africa the drama started on Sunday, Feb.

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